It’s quiet and still on Gairloch Lake. You won’t see many cars pass and if you’re lucky you won’t even get cell reception.
That’s the way the people who come out there every year want it.
For them Gairloch Lake is more thank just an annual fishing destination. It’s an escape.
Chris Parsons was three, maybe four when he first ventured out on the ice with his grandfather and fished for the first time.
“Ever since then I’ve just loved fishing,” he said.
While the cold temperatures can be miserable at times, he said he enjoys the peace and quiet. It’s a place where you won’t hear complaining he said. It’s just relaxing.
Saturday, he and some friends who grew up in Newfoundland were out on Gairlock. They try to get out whenever they can – and whenever their wives give them permission.
Saturday it was warm, but the ice was still thick, which made for an ideal fishing morning.
Corey Christopher, has made ice fishing an annual traditional as well. He said it’s a big thing in Newfoundland, where the ice is thick and people often drive their vehicles right out onto the ice.
For ice fishing he explained you use a short rod, the kind you can get at a department store for $15 to $20. You could spend more, but there’s little to gain. He fishes at a depth of about 12 feet.
He uses a rubber bait with some bologna (Newfoundland steak as his friends jokingly call it) on the hook and some salt pork attached to give a scent.
He admits he sometimes gets an odd stare from people when they hear what he has on the hook, but he said it works.
The fish they’re going for are rainbow or speckled trout.
“They only just recently stocked the speckled in here, like last year they weren’t in here,”Christopher said. “They’re pretty big. Between 12 and 15 inches. They’re nice and fat and pretty aggressive.”
That said, fishing is always a bit unpredictable.
“You might come out for two days and not catch one, not even get a bite and then certain days you go down you get one after another.”
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You should know:
• A 2013 general fishing licence is required to winter fish and can be purchased at Department of Natural Resources offices. Licences are valid until March 31, 2014 and cost $26.73. Anglers may also purchase one-day licences at a reduced rate.
• The bag limit is two fish per licence.
• Anglers can take advantage of the annual winter sportfishing weekend, Feb. 15 and Feb. 16, when residents and non-residents can fish in open winter sport fishing areas without a general fishing licence.
For more info visit: http://novascotia.ca/fish/programs-and-services/industry-support-services/inland-fisheries/
Read Don MacLean's Outdoor World column on ice fishing here.